EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
(Begin Again Book 1)
(Begin Again Book 1)
by Gia Riley
Lighter, the first book in Gia Riley's new Begin Again series, has just been released. This book blitz and giveaway is brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours.
What do you do when you can't save the one you love?
Sophie can’t survive without control. Growing up with an alcoholic father, she craves the discipline of gymnastics. Feeling lost on a brand new college campus, she lets loose for the first time in her life. But with freedom comes consequences. Is one night everything she hopes? Or will she become her own worst nightmare?
Kipton's one year away from graduation. He's never thought beyond a one night stand until meeting his sister’s new roommate. Finally setting his sights on the girl he can't resist, he's more determined than ever when she won't give in to his persuasions. He's always gotten the girl, and he's not about to give up without a fight.
Will Sophie be able to salvage her dreams and wage a war against her own vices? Can she finally let love in? Or will history repeat itself causing her to self-destruct?
Lighter isn't your typical college romance. Darkness suffocates, dreams are dashed, and battles are lost. Love takes on a whole new meaning.
Two Years Ago
“Sophie, wait! I’m sorry. I’m just worried about you,” Megan yells from the double doors leading from the locker room into the hallway.
She saw the bruises on my body.
I knew better than to change in front of everyone after gym class, yet I did it anyway because I was running late to meet my boyfriend. Blaine doesn’t like it when I keep him waiting. Tossing my book bag over my shoulder, I round the corner and smack right into him – and he doesn’t look happy.
“What did you say to her?” He questions with a deadly stare.
“Nothing. I didn’t say a word.” I didn’t but I still avert my eyes, choosing to stare at the tile on the floor instead of him. Without warning, he grabs my arm and pulls me into the bathroom. It’s empty.
“Please, Blaine.” I’m begging him to stop. He hears me, but he doesn’t listen.
“I told you what I would do, didn’t I?”
I swallow, my hands shaking. “Yes.”
He pins my arms against the wall, hovering over me. “And yet you still couldn’t keep your damn mouth shut.”
I try to yank my arms from his grasp, but his grip is too tight. His fingertips dig painfully into my arms, his nails breaking through the skin. “I swear I didn’t tell her anything.”
He inches closer to my face, the warmth of his breath hits my cheek. “Don’t fucking lie to me, Sophie. What happened the last time you lied to me?”
“I’m not lying. Please, Blaine. I wouldn’t.”
“What happened, Sophie?”
He’s going to make me say it – as if I’d ever need a reminder. It’s impossible to forget. “You had to teach me a lesson.”
“But you never learn. No matter how hard I try to protect you.”
“I’m sorry,” I plead. Regardless of the fact that I’m innocent, he morphs my apology into an admission of guilt.
“Damn right you are,” he spits through gritted teeth. His calmness now completely gone and replaced with anger. “Don’t you ever lie to me again, you hear me?”
“Yes,” I whisper.
He grabs my chin, roughly scraping his calloused thumb over my lips. His dilated pupils pierce straight through me sending chills down my spine. “Tell me you love me.” My words get lodged in my throat and I make the mistake of pausing a second too long. “Say it!” he warns as his fist pounds against the wall next to my head.
“I love you, Blaine.” And maybe there was a time I actually did. He wasn’t always like this, but neither was I. If I could go back in time, I’d tell him no. I’d push him away from me and keep my distance. But I’m just like my mother - unable to get away and desperate enough to stay. “Please let go of me. You’re hurting me.”
Finally he releases me, replacing his harsh words with sweet promises – his rough touches with gentle caresses. With a flip of a switch, he’s back to the Blaine I fell for, masking any signs of the evil he’s become.
“You make me so crazy, Sophie.” He runs his fingers through my long blond hair, leaving a trail of light kisses on my neck. “I only get mad because I love you so much.”
“I know.” Painfully well. My scattered bruises a daily reminder of his temper.
His hand falls from my hair as he latches onto my hip, pulling me flush against his body. “Baby, I need you. You’re everything to me.”
Everything I don’t want to be. Not anymore.
Beneath the surface, I’m scarred and broken; a much darker version of the girl I once was. There was a time I believed I was worthy of true love. But now, living in a hell littered with reminders of broken promises, I know what we have is anything but love.
It’s in this moment that I know I’m not strong enough to fight another day unless I get away from him. But I don’t know how. I need a plan – something to get me away from this town and its memories.
Closing my eyes, I say a silent prayer that my luck will change – that someone will save me from the hell my life has become.
Praise for the Book
"This story was beautifully written and it will touch your heart in many different places. Although it is heartbreaking at times it is also an amazing story about the power of love and how it can heal. Lighter will having you wanting to reach in it and hug the characters. It will having you feeling so much sympathy for them and you will think how much more can one person take but then it will start to mend your heart and put it back together and when this happens it is truly a beautiful feeling." ~ Read and Share Book Reviews
"You will enjoy this love story. It will make you laugh, tear up, love and swoon. You may want to kick some butt too lol. Highly recommend this read and cannot wait to see what Gia has up her sleeve next!!" ~ Jilly
"Gia Riley's work just keeps getting better and better. While there is a lot of heavy and dark material covered in this book there is also a lightness and gentleness. The intense situations were handled with the delicacy they so desperately needed. I will say that I did want a little more of Sophie's struggle (as if she didn't struggle enough) to pull herself from the bottom of the pit. Lighter was heartbreakingly beautiful. It touched me in a way I didn't expect and is a tale that will stick with me for quite some time." ~ ANJasper
"I was totally sucked into this book right from the start! This story tugged at my heartstrings dealing with a tough matter, that happens to be a personal thing for me, but Gia did an amazing job with bringing light and compassion to a very sensitive topic. I loved the character Sophie I could absolutely relate to in some ways and Kipton, my word, everyone should have a Kipton in their life. This is a story about love and being able to come out of the dark and actually see the light and there really is true love and happiness that everyone deserves. I would absolutely recommend this book to everyone. Gia blew me away with this story and I am dying for more!" ~ Kelly Sugar Shack Book Blog
About the Author
Gia Riley is a lover of all things romance and a firm believer that everyone deserves a happily ever after. She resides in the small but mighty state of Delaware with her husband and son. Mother and wife by day, writer by night - she's a girl with a dream to write.
When she's not busy writing, she can be found roaming the isles of Kirkland's or up to her elbows in Play-doh.
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." ~ Maya Angelou
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